As a writer, my methods and writing techniques evolve with each book that I write. I haven’t spoken much about my books before on here and so I thought I would jump in and give a bit of background information, how I work, write and plan my books as well as offer my experience as advice for others.
Disclaimer: the tips and advice contained in this post might not work for you. All writers are different and plot/pants different ways.
With my first novel The Collective, I pantsed the entire novel. It took me well over two years to complete and edit etc. I started writing halfway through NaNoWriMo in November 2014 and finally published it in April 2017.
This was not how long I wanted to take with each book. So, I needed a better way to get my books written and a faster way to draft.
While editing The Collective I started writing two other books. One of them being the sequel to The Collective Egyptian Curse. Before I started writing anything I jotted down as many notes as I could muster in a notebook and even had a few ideas for books three and four. Five is still a mystery to me, so any ideas throw them at me. I think I have an inkling which was given to me from a friend but I’m not 100%
Anyway – I am getting off track.
I did a lot of research and found the 3-Act structure, and with K.M.Weiland’s breakdown of each step I found it SUPER helpful to create my own way of plotting out my novel. As a pantser at heart, I still leave room in the flexible outline for my characters to deviate if they so feel like it.
The Kane Saga:
With this series I was completely different again and ended up writing down the story using The Snowflake Method and having a page or two of notes of how the story was going to go, and then I opened it up to the 3-Act structure.
There are five sections in the digital version of The Novel Portfolio, and I use most of them - if not all - depending on the stories needs.
Imagination to Paper:
This section can be used for a lot of things. Brainstorming, Idea Creation, Idea Expansion etc. I especially love the mind dump page because sometimes you can find some useful things inside your mind. That's one of the main pages I use along with the story idea page where you write down snippets of your story.
Building The Muscles:
Once you've chosen an idea, I like to write it down and brainstorm as much as I can towards it. I've used the what if page maybe once or twice, it's not one for me 100% of the time but I kept it in there to be used if needed. When I write a premise in this workbook, I use that as the basis for the story. Like a skeleton, I am adding flesh too.
Creating Your Characters:
I try to use every single one of the pages in this section of the book. I'm a firm believer that if you know your character inside and out you can't go too wrong with your stories feelings or character motivations. I especially love the section for Other Characters which I add to whenever someone new comes into the story. Writing down their full name and a brief description is always helpful in case I have a few days off writing and forget.
Developing The World
Creating your world is a huge part of writing a book, and keeping track of it especially. If you turn right to go to the bakers in chapter 2, you don't want to be turning left in chapter 3. I also recommend getting a map made if you're writing a big world that's made up. If you're creative then maybe you can draw your own one, if your not, you can draw something that works for you and then get one commissioned.
Plotting Your Events
However, you like to plot this section can help! I love the diversity of being able to plot loads or plot less.
Do you ever write about a character and realise you've forgotten what colour their hair is? Or maybe you've written down something that was meant to happen in the story but are unable to find your notes in the pile of scrap paper you have?
This 90+ page template has everything you need to keep all notes about your story in one place so you'll never have to search for stuff again. Meet The Novel Portfolio - a comprehensive workbook to take you from imagination to paper, and right the way to the end of your story.
There are five sections designed to help you find that story idea, build on your initial thoughts, create your characters, developing the world and plotting each point in your novel.
The document comes as a PDF which is designed to be printed, as well as having the ability to print more of specific pages if you need more than what I have provided. Although this workbook is done in colour, you can also print in black and white for economical printing.